Things Are Happening, Except Little Seedpod’s Appearance

The rollercoaster of great anticipation/ trepidation continues. I’m sure Little Seedpod has run out of space in my belly and its new schedule of awakeness and boisterous antics appears to be ‘Ha! There is no Schedule!’

It would be nice to know when Little Seedpod is going to come out. It would be even nicer if I could pick the start day and time. Like, when The Husband is not out of town and we are up-to-date with grocery shopping. And cleaning. And it is the weekend, or almost the weekend. And I have had some decent sleep – several hours. And all the brassica seedlings have been planted. However, we’re in a pretty good state really. Most of the garden is a wild, weedy mess, but I have come to terms with the fact that one day I will be able to wrangle it back under control. I’m glad it’s winter, the quietest season. There isn’t much more that I ‘need’ to do. I would really just like to finish knitting the baby wrap.

Leptospermum scoparium ‘Red Falls’ – a prostrate red manuka. Red flowers are notoriously difficult for cameras to focus on and get the correct colour.

On one of the difficult days I got a great sense of achievement out of potting up a rooted basil cutting. It was an accidental propagation after I picked too much basil for pizza one evening and left it sitting in a jar of water. It had a lot of roots and was starting to look a bit sad from lack of nutrients by this point, so I got it potted up and situated on the kitchen windowsill. That was my great gardening feat for that day and will give us a bit of basil to use during the cold season. I often used to keep one growing on a sunny windowsill but there is very little useful windowsill space in this house.

My basil baby.

On a good day, I got a batch of cornbread made and froze most of it in mini loaf form. These will be handy for me to snack on. I also got some beef stock (broth) made and into the freezer, which was good since we’d just used up all the pork stock.

I bought one bag of Agria seed potatoes, which are our firm favourite. It is still early to get them but I wanted to at least get some before the baby arrives in case things get too busy later on, especially since Agria is such a popular variety. There were 17 potatoes in my 1.5kg bag. One was going mouldy at one end. I decided to chop the bad part off and see if the rest of it would be ok. There were also a few potatoes long enough to cut into two, making sure there was at least one eye (growing point) on each piece. I have always planted just whole potatoes but I’m seeing if I can stretch things out a bit this time. I dipped the cut ends into wood ash from the fire to help them dry out and prevent them from going bad.

Now the potatoes are chitting in egg trays in the shed. I have half of what we need to fill one row of the Front Plot, which is what I’m intending to do. We didn’t grow a full row last season and we are down to our last few potatoes already. They have been so tasty, so I decided to reduce the amount of corn plants to fit in some more potatoes for the coming season. It would be nice to have space to grow even more but that’s not going to happen without sacrificing another crop.

No, it’s not dinner, it’s seed potatoes cut and dusted with wood ash.

Our young orange tree is producing its first oranges this winter. Previously I’ve pulled the flower buds off to let the tree get more established, especially after The Husband broke off one of the main branches. It has been much slower to grow than the mandarin tree beside it. I may have picked the first orange a little soon since they’re not supposed to be ready until late August, but it wasn’t too sour. We haven’t had homegrown oranges since the old orange tree in the citrus pen was still alive in our first year here. It was already deteriorating with citrus tree borer, then got dealt its death blow by harsh frosts that year.

Orange ‘Best Seedless’ dwarf. I’m not sure what’s been eating its leaves though.

Winter has been distinctly mild so far. Too mild. My brassica seedlings sitting on the table on the deck are STILL being nibbled by the soft, green, pesky caterpillar children of the cabbage white moths. I had them covered earlier on but gave up keeping up with that after a while. The butterflies themselves have finally gone but I didn’t keep up with getting all the eggs or tiny caterpillars off the plants. It has not been cold enough to kill them off. I’ve lost a few seedlings that had their stems chomped right off. They could recover if there are nodes (growing points) left below the cut, but at this stage they will take too long to grow back.

The brassicas are all behind on growth and planting out anyway, but at least I did grow them. You know when you find a snail crawling on your pants as you walk inside that you’re slow. It wasn’t the first snail I found on my pants either. The snails are mocking me! Well, I have just one variety of broccoli left to plant. I better attempt to protect my seedlings from those snails too. We disturbed them when we pulled two celery plants out of the Veggie Garden, which were apparently snail forts. Now the snails are assembling.

Red cabbages. I normally like seedlings to be bigger when I plant them out, but if these don’t get in the ground now, they might not.

We’ve had a bunch of rain and damp, foggy weather lately so the chicken pen was getting a bit soggy. The Little Fulla happily transported flakes of hay to the chicken pen in the back of his trike and helped spread it around on the ground. The chickens are quite happy about this exciting stuff to scratch around in and it will help to keep them occupied.

The chickens approve of their influx of hay.

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